Rookie center. Rookie center struggling.
Rookie right guard. Rookie right guard benched. New right guard ineffective.
No right tackle. Left guard moving to right tackle. Journeyman thrust into role at left guard.
Reliable left tackle injured. Right tackle switching to left tackle. Returning right tackle not completely healthy.
All of these are problems that the Philadelphia Eagles have faced with their offensive line this season.
Yet after six games, it’s becoming more and more evident that the offensive line for the Philadelphia Eagles will become one of the team’s strengths.
Let’s evaluate player by player to determine why.
Jason Peters: At left tackle, Peters is one of the more reliable offensive linemen in the NFL. He is expected to return from a hamstring injury following the bye week, which will improve Eagles’ offensive line tremendously. You can figure on a likely (and deserving) Pro Bowl selection for him this season.
Evan Mathis: Mathis wasn’t signed by the Eagles to be a starter. Although he played extremely well last season (no sacks allowed in over 700 snaps), he has just 22 career starts and is more of a reliable backup than a starter. Yet this season he has been nothing short of fantastic. He is rated as the third best player on the Philadelphia Eagles (behind Michael Vick and Trent Cole), as well as the fifth best offensive lineman in the National Football League. He’s rated above positive in all six games, and he’s done exceptionally well in the past two.
Jason Kelce: I still think Jamaal Jackson should be the starter, especially in goal-line situations, where his size would be a huge advantage. Kelce is rated as the 29th best center in the league this season and he’s been extremely inconsistent from game to game. Check out his six weekly scores for PFF: 1.2, -1.3, -3.8, 2.3, -4.4, -1.7. Kelce is easily the weakest point of the offensive line but let’s just hope he continues to improve from week to week. No offensive line can have five solid starters (well, they can, but that’s a lot to expect).
Danny Watkins: I agree with the decision to bench Watkins before the start of the season and I agree with the decision to bench DeVan before week five. Watkins had a solid debut (minus the costly goal-line penalty) but he struggled last week. Overall in two weeks, he’s done well, and I obviously believe that he will continue to improve.
Todd Herremans: What to say about this guy? He is the second most best player on the team this season, behind running back LeSean McCoy. Herremans recently made a comment that he is like a Band-Aid and you can stick him wherever you need him. That’s completely true. Herremans entered training camp as the left guard but switched to right tackle before the start of the season. He played there for five games before he switched to left tackle last week in place of the injured Jason Peters and King Dunlap. All he did was record his best game of the season and arguably the best game by an Eagles’ offensive lineman this year. Herremans has never made a Pro Bowl but that streak will likely end this season.
So on the line, you’ve got Peters, a consistent Pro Bowler. You’ve got Herremans and Mathis, who are turning in Pro Bowl seasons. And you’ve got Kelce and Watkins, who are still inconsistent but should be improving from week to week.
You look at the group of five and I think there’s a reason why the NFL’s top scrambling quarterback has only been sacked ten times, and why he hasn’t suffered a big injury yet this season.
If the Eagles do contend down the stretch, I think the play of the offensive line will be a major reason why the team is winning.